Keep notes simple
- Stick to keywords and short sentences. Write in your own words (not verbatim from a professor). Only write down what matters.
- Create a system of symbols or abbreviations to organize information. You might leave vowels out of long words, abbreviate words, or use text speak, numbers, symbols, or pictures.
- Create an indexing system for notes on paper or use tags for electronic notes.
- Experiment with taking visual notes. Instead of writing things down in the order that you cover them in class, try drawing mind maps, flowcharts or other charts.
Highlight key words or phrases
- This will help you study later.
- Leave space to add more information later in the lecture, after class, or during a lecture later in the semester.
Review Your Notes Within 24 Hours
- Rewrite incomplete bits, add information you remember but didn’t write down, and mark anything you aren’t clear on so that you can ask your instructor about it. Highlight important items with asterisks or draw circles or boxes around critical info.
Taking notes helps you remember information. There are many different note-taking methods, so try a few out and find what works for you. Here are a few common methods:
- Divide your paper into three sections. Take notes in the main section on the right, label key ideas in the smaller column on the left, and write a summary at the bottom.
- Learn an effective method of taking notes in this 6-minute video
- Use headings and bullet points to organize topics, subtopics and details.
Write on the lecture slides
- Many instructors make their PowerPoint slides available in advance (check the Public drive from a DISD computer). Print them out to and write on them in class, or use an app to annotate the slides on your laptop or tablet.
- Use boxes and lines for connecting events, processes or ideas to highlight the relationships between topics, in a more visual way of understanding the material.
- Take the central idea of the lecture and write it in the center of your paper. Then create branches of related topics, subtopics, keywords, and related concepts that help you connect the supporting information to the main idea. If you remember pictures more easily than words, a mind map is a great study tool.
- Find more tips and advice through the IBH Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
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